Originally Posted by nobrakes
So right now, I'd need to increase my average speed by 3 or 4 MPH to win my class. Still doesn't sound like a lot, but carrying 3 or 4 more MPH through that tight stuff is going to take some serious effort. I think I can pick it up and go a bit faster in the more open sections. But each course is different and never having raced many of these courses before, the first time I've seen these is the first lap of the race, so I'm a little reluctant to go too fast not knowing what's coming up around the next bend.
But speed is definitely something I need to work on. Actually, it's probably technique that I need to work on, and then the speed will follow. I've been trying to stand more, and I think that is helping. But in the excitement of the race, it's easy to fall back on old (bad) habits. So I think I just need to suck it up, use proper technique even if I'm slower at first, and eventually the speed will come.....
As I get ready to start racing again, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think something has finally gotten into my thick head. Kenny Roberts might have said it but I know Keith Code wrote about it in his Twist of the Wrist
books: you can go fast in the slow places but you have to go fast in the fast places.
Going 20% faster through a tight, twisty, 30 foot piece of trail is only going to gain you a bike length. It's also going to be seriously hard to go that much faster and will take a lot of energy yanking the bike around to do it. Going 20% faster over a 150 foot flowing section is going to gain you 5 or 6 bike lengths. It will be scary at first, but it's completely doable and definitely takes a lot less energy than a tight, gnarly section does. The long, flowing sections is where I tend to "rest" before the inevitable next bad place.
Something to think about.